The northwest Indiana town of Whiting is hosting delicious Latino culture next weekend with the first-ever Empanada Fest.
On Saturday, Sept. 10, the sweet or savory dumpling treat takes center stage in a one-day festival at Whiting Lakefront Park along with cultural performances by local music and dance groups, including Ballet Folklorico Yolotzin. Founder and instructor Margaret Gomez said the festival is the perfect place to bring cultural performances like hers to the Latino children in the area.
“It’s important to come out and educate not only the community but our youth, [they]need to be proud of who they are, where their ancestors came from. This is us!” Gomez said.
Hispanic Heritage Organization president and Whiting councilwoman Rebena Uñate Michko spearheaded the event, but she says it’s taken on a life of its own.
“It’s huge for me. I’ve been wanting to do something for a while … to bring some culture, show our culture, celebrate our culture,” said Uñate Michko. “I do want this to be definitely a tradition. It’s a one-day event, maybe we can go on for two days next year. But it’s definitely something that we need to celebrate with our culture in this area.”